Chimi Dema | Tsirang

Damphu town in Tsirang is the commercial hub of the second largest egg-producing dzongkhag. But of late, shop owners  are not seeing many eggs reaching their shops.

This is despite daily average egg production remaining the same. Records with the dzongkhag livestock sector show that on an average, 51,347 eggs were produced a day from January to May. Producing about 20 million (M) eggs last year, Tsirang is the second largest egg-producing dzongkhag after Sarpang

As of May this year, the dzongkhag produced over 1.5M eggs with about 91,400 layer birds in 115 farms.

Shopkeepers said that despite being near to the poultry farms, supply is decreasing. Vendors from other dzongkhags, it was found, contact farms owners and take the eggs to other dzongkhags.

A rich source of protein and a good substitute for meat, the restriction on the import of meat and the ban on meat during the auspicious month could have increased the demand for eggs from other dzongkhags.

Damphu vendors said even if they were willing to pay as much as vendors from other areas, which is about Nu 2500 per carton, there is no supply. The owner of Drangtse Bakery said that she visits farms to look for eggs. “Although the prices have almost doubled, the produce is in short supply even at the farms,” she said.

Given the huge demand, a carton of an egg (210 eggs) costs Nu 2,450 from farms today, in Phuentenchu, the largest egg-producing gewog in the dzongkhag.

Last month, the gewog produced an average of 18,700 eggs in a day. The gewog, today has more than 27,000 layer birds in 20 farms.

According to gewog’s officials, the gewog supplies about 200 cartons of eggs to nearby dzongkhags every week.

The owner of Tara shop manages supply from his cousin’s farm. He said that it takes only one day to sell off a carton of eggs, today. “It used to take at least three days in the past.”

Meanwhile, today, a tray of an egg in the town costs between Nu 350 and Nu 400.

Dzongkhag Livestock Officer, Gyem Tshering said that the fall in supply could be due to vendors from other dzongkhags taking away the produce paying higher prices.

He said that many farm owners have signed contracts with vendors. In terms of overall production, he said that there was no decrease. “Our annual performance agreement target this year is to produce 19.5M eggs,” he said.

Meanwhile, the farmers claimed that it was difficult to get chicks unlike in the past.

This, according to farmers, has affected production. Mahananda Rizal, a poultry farmer from Kilkhorthang said that his production has dropped by half. “I used to supply 70 cartons of eggs a month earlier but today, my farm produces only about 25 cartons,” he said.

According to gewog officials, the increased price for chicks also makes it difficult for farmers to buy. Farmers in Sergithang said that it was easier for them to supply directly to nearby dzongkhags in Wangdue and Punakha through Burichhu bypass than taking to the market in Damphu.